Batfleck delivered in Batman vs. Superman

I just saw Batman vs. Superman and since I have opined about this movie before it came out, it seems like I should report back. Here are my quick impressions:

Ben Affleck was very good as Batman, pretty good as Bruce Wayne. I had heavily doubted he could do it, but oh boy, was he Batman. How does he compare to Bale, Keaton, and Kilmer? He is all of them and then some. There were moments I couldn’t tell which Batman I was seeing, which is a good thing. In sum, I was wrong, wrong, wrong about this casting choice. However, some of the story beats he was given were not well thought out, but that’s not Ben Affleck’s fault.

Gal Gadot did great as Wonder Woman and didn’t have enough screen time. She towered over the other two men in both of her identities. She should have had a much bigger role in this film.

Henry Cavill (Supes) and Jesse Eisenberg (Luther) both did a good job, but in each case the job each one was given was junk. Eisenberg’s Luther is just poorly conceived: like the Joker and Tony Stark had a love child. I think Wonder Woman had more dialog than Superman did. She emoted a lot more, despite the emotional center of the movie being Superman and Wonder Woman having maybe ten minutes of screen time. Who’s to blame for this? Not Cavill, but this next guy…

Zack Snyder is both a genius and a disaster director. He is weak on story, character narrative and emotional depth, but great on visuals, Wagnerian opera, and fight scenes. This movie could have been so much better with better story development and smarter editing. He should have not dipped so far into the freakish Frank Miller source material and done more original story telling. The performances were there, the conflicts were there, but between plot holes, shallow character development, and useless dream sequences, he’s to blame for the film’s shortcomings.

Critics vs. fans: Rotten Tomatoes shows a widely split decision between these two groups. Critics hated it, fans liked it. Critics hated it because Snyder skirted with James Cameron/Michael Bay-esque mediocrity in the movie/story department, and the DC Comics stuff was lost on them. When a movie has story and editing problems, the special effects and action sequences stick out like sore thumbs. Fans liked it because Michael Bay films are entertaining and because it is definitely a DC Comics movie.

Marvel vs. DC: This was such a DC Comics movie that it’s hard to compare to a Marvel film. DC Comics are dark and operatic, more of a less nuanced-superhero storytelling world. This is superhero wish-fulfillment that is not tongue-in-cheek. Props to DC for not trying to mimic Marvel.

At the end, I was excited to see the next movie, Suicide Squad, and Wonder Woman.

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